Oklahoma State appoints NCAA officer to investigate football claims

The same day that Sports Illustrated wrapped up its five part report into alleged misconduct by Oklahoma State University, the school announced it has appointed a special investigator.

Charles E. Smrt, former NCAA Director of Enforcement, has been assigned to lead OSU's independent review. The announcement comes after Sports Illustrated claims the school paid players, used drugs and sex to entice recruits, and helped students cheat the academic system. SI says the misconduct happened primarily between 2001 and 2007.

President Burns Hargis and the OSU/A&M Board of Regents announced Smrt would lead the charge on Monday.

"While the articles do not implicate any current coaches or players to have direct involvement in any alleged misconduct, we have a responsibility to confront these disturbing reports head on and with complete transparency," Hargis said.

"With the strong support of the OSU Board of Regents, I have authorized a thorough and expeditious investigation. To assure that the investigation is unwavering in its pursuit of the truth, the university has retained Charles E. Smrt, a veteran NCAA enforcement officer and one of the foremost experts in the compliance field, to serve as lead independent investigator," Hargis said.

Smrt is President and Founder of The Compliance Group, a Lenexa, Kansas, based consulting firm that specializes in compliance audits and the review of information concerning potential NCAA violations. Prior to founding The Compliance Group in 1999, Smrt was on the NCAA enforcement staff for almost 18 years as Director of Enforcement and Director of Enforcement Supervisor for the NCAA in Overland Park, Kansas.

"I appreciate the unfettered access and cooperation that President Hargis has offered to help me carry out my review," Smrt said. "He has asked me to pursue the facts wherever they may lead. I assured him that I will do so, and that I will conduct the review with care and urgency."

Mike Holder, Vice President of Athletics at OSU, said that even though some have called into question aspects of the story, he applauds the Board of Regents and President Hargis for undertaking a comprehensive review. "We welcome the scrutiny," Holder said.

OSU's Head Football Coach Mike Gundy said, "I support a quick and complete review. I am proud of our football program. And I can assure everyone we are committed as coaches and staff to winning the right way."